On February 6th the Vintage S.C.C. reverted to its former venue for driving-tests, in the arctic wastes of Slough, flanked by gas-works, railways, and wire-mesh pens most tantalisingly full of choice new Citroen Light Fifteens.
This time there was a splendid bias towards vintage-car entries, these outnumbering the thoroughbred post-vintage cars by 46 to 12, so that the latter were lumped together in one capacity class. Moreover, President Cecil Clutton arrived and competed in his fine 30/98 Vauxhall E-type and Secretary T.W.Carson was present in his vintage 40/50 Rolls-Royce, of such elegance that lots of spectators must have thought that the V.S.C.C. has West End headquarters.
The tests, some of which were an optional choice on the part of the 58 entrants, commenced with a width-judging event and a sprint with “Le Mans start” during which Nigel Arnold-Forster’s 1926/30 Anzani Frazer-Nash shed a very wiggly chain.
Matters warmed up with a garaging test (two garages) and an out and back wiggle-woggle. In the former we saw (and heard) D.Denne do some cog-crunching in his 1913 Sunbeam and, stalling his engine, omit the second garage, J.Clements miss his cue in a 1926 Austin Heavy Twelve tourer with modern headlamps and a windscreen to its rear compartment, and K.E.Gorady’s somewhat tatty Rolls-Royce Twenty also fail to put itself away.
Excellent ability was displayed at garaging by D.H.Gahagan (G.P. Bugatti) and). D.Rogers (1920 Jowett Seven), but the Bugatti stalled when home and was pushed away. D.C.Webb was also very good indeed in his original 1924 Brescia Bugatti.
F.S.Lockhart experienced severe back-wheel frantics in his neat 1923 air-cooled, flat-twin Rover Eight chummy, but did well, Jeddere-Fisher’s exceedingly direct steering on his 1914 bull-snouted Lagonda coupe caused peals of appreciative mirth from the frozen spectators, and W.S.Heath drove neatly and steadily in his smart 1938 “Chain-gang” Frazer-Nash, which possesses a good steering lock. L.T.D.Taylor’s modern vintage Austin Seven went berserk in the second garage, crossing a line it “hadn’t oughter,” and P.G.Bartleet only just got his 1927 2-litre Lagonda put away. N.Arnold-Forster holed in one and D.F.H.Wood’s Riley Eleven coupe and Dr. D.P.Harris’ 1934 Frazer-Nash were admirably manoeuvred. Alas, E.M.C.Butcher’s agricultural-sounding 1929 14/40 M.G. failed and C.R.Peal’s 1924/6 3-litre Bentley smote a marker at the first garage.
The wiggle-woggle was mostly taken sedately, but Lockhart was clapped, W.L.T.Winder was having a go in his Humber, and C.W.Robertson won a battle with the unshut driver’s door of his 1929 Riley Nine Monaco saloon. G.Wellings drove quickly in his 1923 Morris-Cowley two-seater, N.D.Routledge momentarily ran out of direction in his 1924 Morris-Cowley tourer, the modern-vintage Austin Seven looked less stable than the purely vintage vehicles, and Dr.Chapman was kept busy. Rogers drove neatly, E.S.Eaton accompanied his 1928 Lancia Lambda with a fearsome facial expression and A.L.S.Delayer (1926 Lea-Francis) indulged in a final burst of speed. M.Huckstepp’s 1924 Morris-Oxford carried a clearly-lettered can of Shell Motor Spirit, L.P.Sewers drove very nicely in his 1926 Lea-Francis, J.W.Rowley’s 1929 shut-and-cut 1929 Lancia Lambda exuded drips of fluid from its weird exhaust system, Sam remained master of his 30/98, but Bartleet’s Lagonda savaged a marker drum and shot off the course. Denyer was another who smote a tub, M.Leo was as fierce as his Lagonda, E.P.Davis and M.A.L.Coote handled their big carriages, respectively 1930 40/50 Rolls-Royce and 1934 41-litre Lagonda, well, Gahagan’s Bugatti was still misfiring as it did at Lasham, B.Mountford’s Replica Le Mans 41-litre Bentley tended to lock its back wheels and J.M.Hill’s 1934 Bugatti seemed to sag in the middle. M.J.R.May’s 1923 Autocrat was slow in all save engine revs. and D.E.Lincoln’s very nice 1929 O.M. indulged in tail slides.
This was an assembly in the vintage tradition, with enquiries about such matters as what is a Hudlass ? and where does one get “gen” about a 14/40 Vauxhall front axle ? So that the Editor suppressed his shivers and remarked that he was inspired to acquire another vintage car, perhaps a Cluley he had seen cringing in a wayside garage. And then everyone melted away, Harry Bowler’s Tamplin cyclecar on tow and Winder’s Humber on a trailer, and we discovered that traffic on the recently de-restricted Slough-Windsor Road was at a standstill because some workmen had dug a huge hole in it outside Eton College.
Vintage Cars up to 1,500 c.c.
1st Class Awards : C.W.Robertson (1929 Riley Nine), C.A.R.Ripley (1923 Gwynne Eight);
2nd Class Awards : F.S.Lockhart (1923 Rover Light), W.L.T.Winder (1927 Humber);
3rd Class Awards : D.F.H.Wood (1923 Riley), H.J.R.May. (1923 Autocrat). J.D.Rogers (1923 Jowett).
Vintage Cars over 1,500 cc.
lst Class Awards : J.W.Rowley (1929 Lancia Lambda), G.W.Welling, (1923 Morris);
2nd Class Awards : B.Mountford (1928 Bentley), C.Glutton (1920 Vauxhall);
3rd Class Awards : M.Leo (1930 Lagonda). S.Sedgwiek (1928 Bentley), N.D.Routledge (1924 Morris-Cowley).
lst Class Award : P.S.C.Chapman (1932 Frazer-Nash);
2nd Class Awards : M.A.L.Coote (1934 Lagonda), W.S.Heath (1938 Frazer. Nash);
3rd Class Award : D.H.Coates (1934 Lagonda).